An Egyptian prosecutor said Sunday he referred 40 people to trial on charges of belonging to the Islamic State (ISIS) and planning to carry out terrorist attacks in Egypt, reports The Associated Press (AP).
The announcement marks the first time people in Egypt's Nile Delta have been accused of belonging to the group, which holds a third of Iraq and Syria in its self-declared caliphate.
Bilal Abu Khadra, a prosecutor in Egypt's Sharqiya province, said that those charged communicated with Islamic State terrorists in Syria.
He also said the cell's leader confessed to receiving money from the extremists to recruit and help militants travel to Syria.
Khadra said 20 of the defendants are detained, while the others will be tried in absentia, according to AP.
ISIS has a presence in Egypt, in the form of the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group which pledged allegiance to ISIS late last year.
Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis has declared responsibility for the majority of the attacks in the Sinai since the ouster of former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Among the attacks it has claimed was the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai.